Community answers the call on Super Sunday
Volunteers spanning generations lend a hand
On Super Sunday, the Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ brought in more pledges than last year, and its leaders fully expect that will set the stage to reach the $240,000 goal set for its largest fund-raising event of the year.
The Sept. 25 day of calling at the federation’s South River offices brought out 100 volunteers, including a large contingent of students and leaders of Rutgers Hillel, AEPi Jewish fraternity, and Rutgers Jewish Xperience, who raised $175,000. Pledges were continuing to come in as a result of messages and mailings.
“By the end of the day, we expect to be within $30,000 of our goal,” said federation chief development officer Elena Herskowitz on Sept. 29. With a follow-up call night scheduled for Oct. 10, she expects the $240,000 goal to be reached and believes the federation will bring in another $325,000 by the end of the month toward its $3.4 million annual goal.
Last year, in its first Super Sunday as a merged federation, $200,000 was raised on Super Sunday alone.
Money netted through Super Sunday supports struggling Jewish communities overseas and initiatives in Israel. Locally, funding is given to day schools, programs for seniors, educational initiatives, and to further efforts to help the vulnerable.
“People are coming through for us,” said event chair Jeffrey Schwartz of Monmouth Junction more than two hours after he began making calls on Super Sunday. “I’ve had no refusals. Everyone I’ve reached knows what we are and what we do. They’ve seemed only too happy to give.”
Sam Sitt, executive director of the Deal Sephardic Network, came with the president of its teen group, Jacqueline Franco, 16, of Eatontown, as a way of thanking federation for its support. The DSN facility serves youth, teens, and adults through daily programs and sports, while “promoting the important values of community and leadership.”
“Money raised for federation comes back to every other organization in the community that it supports,” Sitt said.
Franco said she came because “we really appreciate all that federation does for us,” particularly its backing of the organization’s “Real Deal” group for high school students, which provides connections among the teens, encourages support for Israel, and promotes social action.
Marci Abramson of Marlboro said she became a Super Sunday volunteer because federation supports her son’s school, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County in Marlboro. “I also like to volunteer in my community and give back,” she said.
On a similar note, Brian Silvey of Highland Park said he was there because federation supports Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore in Ocean Township, where his son is a student. The federation, Silvey said, is “the one organization that supports all the other organizations in the area. For the 40 years I’ve lived in this area — I grew up in Piscataway — the Jewish federation has always been there supporting Israel, local groups, institutions, and people.”